Originally Posted by KCvale
Personally I am no fan of hub motors...
...Though a good engine can move you around pretty good direct drive (single speed) kind of like a 3 speed Pinto stuck in 2nd gear, and build a lot of direct drive and shifting gas bikes, I only do shifters for electrics.
Just another personal preference but it's quite the opposite for me, I see very little value in adding the complexity, noise & mechanical drag of gearing to an otherwise elegantly simple, quiet & efficient motor design - particularly as there's so little to be gained on this scale.
There's a few distinct advantages electrics have over gasoline engines, hub motors have essentially only the one moving part, so maintenance is virtually nonexistent. They're direct drive, the motor itself is the wheel so there's only the two bearings in mechanical contact, making noise & wear also virtually nonexistent. Most importantly due to the "instant torque" of electrics shifter kits don't add nearly the preformance they do with gasoline engines, which in contrast have a very narrow peak power range - the reason for gears in the first place.
There's some use to a electric shifter in this scale, but it's mostly to enable the use of cheap, generic electric motors midmounted - at the cost of exactly what makes electrics great, quiet, reliable efficiency... I'm not sure it's really worth saving a hundred bucks to end up with a weaker, more complicated system when one can just bolt a hub on & go.
If I can rid myself of any extra chains, their maintenance & tensioning requirements I'll do so, even with gasbikes I'll never install another of the problematic pedal crank freewheels if I can help it.
Despite the fact I wouldn't build a gasbike that wasn't a shifter of some sort - in the years spent riding my electric hub motors I've never, not even for a moment longed for gears, electrics can do wonderfully well without them. There's a huge difference yes, although I ride constantly I've never needed to fix a hub whereas the shifters always demand some attention, maintenance & repair.
Again though, personal preference